SAN FRANCISCO—The United States Senate yesterday confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Honolulu attorney Mark J. Bennett to serve as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Confirmation came by a vote of 72-27.
Bennett, who will maintain chambers in Honolulu, was nominated to the court on Feb. 15, 2018. After appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 11, 2018, his nomination was reported to the Senate floor on May 10, 2018. He will fill a judgeship vacant since December 31, 2016, when Judge Richard R. Clifton of Honolulu assumed senior status.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Bennett had been director of Starn, O’Toole, Marcus & Fisher in Honolulu since 2011. While working at the law firm, he served on occasion as special deputy attorney general for the State of Hawaii and as a special deputy corporation counsel for the City and County of Honolulu.
Bennett has been a manager, a member and an owner of Beecher Hill Properties, LLC, in Honolulu since 2013. Prior to that, he served as attorney general of Hawaii from 2003 to 2010. Bennett was an adjunct professor of law at the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law, from 1991 to 1993, and in 2001 and 2008. He was a partner, from 1991 to 2002, and of counsel, from 1990 to 1991, McCorriston, Miller, Mukai & MacKinnon LLP, formerly McCorriston, Miho & Miller. Judge Bennett was an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Hawaii, from 1982 to 1989, and for the District of Columbia, from 1980 to 1982.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bennett received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Union College in 1976 and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Cornell Law School in 1979. Following law school, he clerked for then-Chief District Judge Samuel P. King of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii from 1979 to 1980.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hears appeals of cases decided by executive branch agencies and federal trial courts in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. The court normally meets monthly in Seattle, Washington; San Francisco, California; and Pasadena, California; every other month in Portland, Oregon; three times per year in Honolulu, Hawaii; and twice a year in Anchorage, Alaska.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had 11,096 new case filings in fiscal year 2017. The court is authorized 29 judgeships and currently has six vacancies and one future vacancy. (PR)